HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Southern Miss baseball will be missing four key contributors when the its season opens against Mississippi State on February 16.
Hayden Roberts, Taylor Braley, Kirk McCarty and Dylan Burdeaux wrapped up their first minor league seasons in the fall.
Roberts, a 34th round MLB draftee of the Colorado Rockies, struck out 45 batters in 21 games with the Grand Junction Rockies. Sixth-round draftee Braley struck out 22 batters in eight games with the Miami Marlins' affiliate Batavia Muckdogs.
The 2017 Conference USA player of the year Burdeaux spent most of his first season with the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps. The Detroit Tigers pick-up batted .271 in 199 at-bats.
Cleveland Indians draftee McCarty struck out 33 batters in 13 appearances with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. The Oak Grove grad is eager to begin spring training in March.
"I learned so much," McCarty said. "It was really, really fun. I kind of re-fell-in-love with the game. It's different because it's a job now. Not that it wasn't in college because it felt that way but now it's - at any given day you could be said, 'Hey, we've had enough, we don't think this is for you.' It's kind of that motivation to just keep working."
"After playing at Southern Miss with that fanbase, it doesn't seem like much pressure at all once you get up to minor leagues," Burdeaux said. "I think it's just playing baseball. As a kid, you grow up, that's what you want to do every single day and that's what I get to do. I don't feel like it's much pressure at all. I mean, really, at the end of the day it all depends on what you do. If you don't put pressure on yourself, then you should have success."